Monday, November 8, 2010

The Paper Chase

Another damp morning but at least it wasn't actively raining. Esme's coat is making life a lot more livable and although her feet and head get wet the rest of her stays relatively dry (unless she stands in the middle of a deep puddle) which is a blessing. I'm not sure why but I had a premonition this morning that something was going to happen and frankly I think premonitions should just keep themselves to themselves.

We were heading down a little hill, from the top of which I could see a few hundred metres until the treeline obscured the view. The field has a waist high growth of now dead weeds and grass, a smattering of bushes and a few trees. The field has two paths cut into it, the dogs raced down one and I stopped at the divergence, watching them race headlong down the hill. A panicked flash of big brown movement crossed the path about 50 yards in front of the dogs and had they not been already at top speed I imagine they'd have lost the deer fairly quickly.

As it was I stood motionless in exasperation as the deer took great leaping bounds through the grass, flashing its white tail with every stride, like a beacon of light directing the dogs straight to it. And they obliged. I didn't immediately realize how close they were to the deer because I lost sight of them briefly, but when I saw the rustle of the grass a mere 20 yards behind the deer I started to get worried.

The deer beelined for the wooded area and disappeared from view. Crap. I jogged down the path the dogs had taken knowing that there was no way I'd be able to track them or the deer. My main thought, at that point, was to get the dog back I knew I could find, and that was Esme. She would not have been able to keep up with the hell bent for leather dash and I knew she'd be at the bottom of the hill looking for the Ridgebacks. I called her a couple times and who should appear? Raimi. He came smashing back toward me with Leeloo not far behind and Esme close on her heels. My relief, I can tell you, was extreme.

They spent a few more minutes snuffling in the grass, Raimi headed back to where he'd last seen the deer but recalled right away when I said we were going. I had enough excitement for one day. I think the dogs lost the deer when it hit the treeline and once out of sight they are not versed enough in tracking to be able to pick up the scent and follow. Deer are able to move fairly silently through the woods and the dogs were making so much noise in the underbrush that listening for deer would have been impossible. It was a great moment in the dog's lives, chasing that deer, but I'd rather have skipped it.

Now they were on high alert and scanning the distance for any other wayward deer but they had to settle for their old nemesis, The Squirrel. Once it was successfully scared into the branches we headed home for a well deserved nap where they can dream of chasing deer and finally nabbing that evil little squirrel.

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